Cradled in Thorns

Last spring, as my five tree roses displayed their fragrant crop, my little Jack Russell Terrier stood on the retaining wall near my most abundant plant, sniffing. “Oh, how cute,” I thought. “Bailey’s sniffing the roses!” This January, as I cut back the roses, I discovered the true reason behind his interest.

My white rose plant is by far the most lush—and thorny—of the five. Pruning is an unwelcome, prickly chore, and I never do get the finished product down to the recommended five canes. This time, nearly completing the painful task, I discovered an unlikely surprise. Cradled in the arms of the branches, on the woody ball of the tree, was an empty bird’s nest. One partial egg shell proved a bird had chosen this thorny home to start a family.

I stared at the nest for some time. “What a place to bring up a baby bird!” I thought. “Why would a bird brave the prickling of thorns to build its downy nest here?” When I remembered my rambunctious Bailey, I knew what the bird knew. It was a safe place.

I considered my own circumstances, and the safety I find in God in the midst of troubles and trials. I thought about two friends, undergoing surgery for brain tumors. Each turned to God in the midst of their emotional and physical pain, and, in Him, they found peace and protection from Satan’s attacks of doubt. I thought of the biblical Job—stripped of nearly everything but God Himself, and finding Him sufficient (Job 19:25-27).

The circumstances of life do not define us when we choose to see our mighty, all-wise God in the midst of them. Thorns may prick us, but our troublesome circumstances may very well be a place of safety, cradling us in the arms of our caring God (I Peter 5:7). So, what is your thorny situation today? Will you choose to rest in the presence and power of God?

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